Subcontinental dialogue the only way forward: Pakistan


Islamabad: Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to resuming the dialogue process with India, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday said this was the only way forward to improving subcontinental ties.

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“We have to engage to resolve all the issues,” he told reporters here after presiding over a ceremony to mark the completion of the 28th specialised training course at the Foreign Office Training Academy, adding that mutual cooperation and dialogue was the only way forward for both countries.

Qureshi also urged the media of both countries to play a positive and constructive role for the success of the dialogue process.

“There is need to adopt careful and optimistic attitude to the leaders of both the countries for the resumption and success of the dialogue process,” he maintained, adding: “With positive attitudes we can make progress.”

Qureshi said the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet before the annual session of United Nations and thereafter present their report to the two foreign ministers, who will engage each other on the sidelines of the UN session.

Replying to a question about sharing of information, he pointed out that the two countries have a joint mechanism for this and fighting terrorism. More interaction would improve the mechanism, he added.

Answering a question about providing information to India about its alleged interference in Baluchistan, Qureshi said the two prime ministers had discussed the issue July 16 at Sharm el-Sheikh on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Summit.

“I believe sensitive matters should be handled carefully and through diplomatic sources instead of handling this through the media,” the foreign minister contended.

Asked about the fourth dossier submitted by India Saturday on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that claimed over 170 lives, Qureshi said its queries on the basis of which the document was handed over were necessary to make the case more logically tenable in the court.

India had suspended the subcontinental dialogue process in the wake of the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai carnage that New Delhi has blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman captured alive during the Mumbai carnage, has admitted the LeT trained him for the assault.

Pakistan has charge sheeted five key LeT operatives, including its top commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and communications expert Zarar Shah.

However, the issue has soured with Pakistan’s Supreme Court Monday indefinitely adjourning pleas against the release from house arrest of Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, who India says masterminded the Mumbai attacks.

Saeed had founded the LeT, which morphed into the JuD after it was banned in the wake of the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that New Delhi has blamed on the terror group.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while intervening in the parliamentary debate on the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting and the government’s other foreign policy initiatives, had ruled out the resumption of the dialogue process until Pakistan took credible action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

At the same time, he said the India-Pakistan engagement would continue at the foreign secretaries level.